Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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magitsu

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Unread post14 Jul 2020, 10:35

Corporal Frisk's newest blog assessment about the current competitive situation:
https://corporalfrisk.com/2020/07/13/the-black-horses/
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XanderCrews

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Unread post14 Jul 2020, 21:17

Gripen's slow development hurts it again.


nothing is written in stone, if the F-35 doens't get Disqualified in pass/fail scenario like he describes it has the edge.


The timeline that they published that went out into 2060 I think heavily favors F-35. If anything tipped the hand to me, its that.
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Unread post14 Jul 2020, 21:19

magitsu wrote:Corporal Frisk's newest blog assessment about the current competitive situation:
https://corporalfrisk.com/2020/07/13/the-black-horses/


Do you believe the F-35 operation cost is so high that Finland would only be able to buy half as many planes as from the other competitors?
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magitsu

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Unread post14 Jul 2020, 22:07

No, but since there are more than one calculation which seem to indicate very high upkeep costs, arriving even to Norway's number requires quite optimistic assumptions. Since we know that the requirements call for very independent capability, as much as F-35 program allows.
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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 00:36

If Gripen was cheap in any form comparable to an F-16 they'd have more operators. But an F-35A is simply a gigantic leap ahead in capabilities. The Gripen offers slightly more options in a domestic ordnance market, but Finland doesn't fit that category.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 03:48

madrat wrote:If Gripen was cheap in any form comparable to an F-16 they'd have more operators. But an F-35A is simply a gigantic leap ahead in capabilities. The Gripen offers slightly more options in a domestic ordnance market, but Finland doesn't fit that category.


It's clear the Finnish Military want the F-35.....I would think the Gripen would have a better shot with the Swiss. :|
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Corsair1963

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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 03:49

XanderCrews wrote:Gripen's slow development hurts it again.


nothing is written in stone, if the F-35 doens't get Disqualified in pass/fail scenario like he describes it has the edge.


The timeline that they published that went out into 2060 I think heavily favors F-35. If anything tipped the hand to me, its that.


The late arrival of the Gripen E really doomed it's prospects for the export market. (sadly)
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steve2267

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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 04:11

Someone threw out a Lightning / Gripen mix as a possibility.

Why not, then, an F-35 / F-16V hi-low mix? LM moved their Viper factory to South Carolina, and were teasing India with it. Why not offer Finland be one of the main Viper factories going forward? The former eastern bloc states that are eager to get their hands on Vipers are a potential market.

Problems I see are whether the F-16V is cheaper (at all?) than the F-35A as the Lightning's acquisition costs drop. The only argument I see in favor of this is industrial offsets, and potentially less expensive cost per flight hour. All the other targeting tricks / AESA games previously mentioned should still work with the F-16V and it's APG-83.

Maybe some sort of Viper work IS part of the industrial offset package LM is pitching?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 04:40

steve2267 wrote:Someone threw out a Lightning / Gripen mix as a possibility.

Why not, then, an F-35 / F-16V hi-low mix? LM moved their Viper factory to South Carolina, and were teasing India with it. Why not offer Finland be one of the main Viper factories going forward? The former eastern bloc states that are eager to get their hands on Vipers are a potential market.

Problems I see are whether the F-16V is cheaper (at all?) than the F-35A as the Lightning's acquisition costs drop. The only argument I see in favor of this is industrial offsets, and potentially less expensive cost per flight hour. All the other targeting tricks / AESA games previously mentioned should still work with the F-16V and it's APG-83.

Maybe some sort of Viper work IS part of the industrial offset package LM is pitching?



India really missed a great opportunity when they passed on the F-16 during the original MMRCA. Yet, now it's really to late. As by time you got production up and running. You would be bumping into 2030! Which, will be on the verge of obsolescence for such types.

So, hard to really see the benefit for most potential customers???

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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 15:50

steve2267 wrote:Someone threw out a Lightning / Gripen mix as a possibility.

Why not, then, an F-35 / F-16V hi-low mix? LM moved their Viper factory to South Carolina, and were teasing India with it. Why not offer Finland be one of the main Viper factories going forward? The former eastern bloc states that are eager to get their hands on Vipers are a potential market.

Problems I see are whether the F-16V is cheaper (at all?) than the F-35A as the Lightning's acquisition costs drop. The only argument I see in favor of this is industrial offsets, and potentially less expensive cost per flight hour. All the other targeting tricks / AESA games previously mentioned should still work with the F-16V and it's APG-83.

Maybe some sort of Viper work IS part of the industrial offset package LM is pitching?


Someone who? This is a completely outlandish idea.
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magitsu

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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 17:41

Mentioning mix is pretty much sabotaging the conversation at this point.

It was shot down several years ago by Canada for 65, which is almost exactly the same number Finland initially looked for. In Finland mix was unceremoniously denied too few years ago. It would've needed to feature in all of the validation/evaluation steps we've seen to it have any hope of happening. But LM chose not to even respond for F-16 (like Boeing for F-15). Initially Finland expected that they might get an answer for both, but clearly it saves company time and money to pick the strongest candidate internally.

Summary of Bridging and Mixed Fleet Analysis Findings

The analysis found that a mixed fleet of higher capability aircraft able to fulfil the most challenging NATO missions and lower capability aircraft able to fulfil Canada's NORAD obligations totalling more than 65 aircraft could not provide the same overall capability as the single fleet of 65 higher capability aircraft. Moreover, there was strong evidence that unless the purchase cost of the fleet of lower-capability aircraft was half the purchase cost of the fleet of higher-capability aircraft, a mixed fleet would provide less capability at a higher cost.
https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/app-acq/a ... f-eng.html

So unless you can get another plane at over 50% off there's no point. Which would require looking at trainers vs. multiroles. But they don't appear in any current competition. It's almost the same everywhere, for example Switzerland and Finland had initially the same candidates. Switzerland dropped Saab and in Finland Growler and GlobalEye was added. So the competitions are moving further towards capability.

F-16 wasn't wanted even the last time around. It failed both the industrial partnership and performance requirements. Only F/A-18 and Mirage 2000-5 passed (MiG-29 and JAS 39 A/B failed too).

The only thing that connects Finland to F-16 is Patria's (50,1% owned by the Finnish state, 49,9% by the Norwegian state owned Kongsberg) recent purchases of European maintenance schemes. Like the Belgium Engine Center, which indeed does F-16 related work. https://www.patriagroup.com/newsroom/ne ... ine-center

AiM Norway is another similar purchase, but their F-16 work won't last long. So it's mostly for NH-90 helicopter maintenance. Patria already does Finnish and Swedish maintenance for it. Clearly there's some potential for continuing with F-35. For now the Finnish part probably won't be allowed to touch anything F-35 related, just the Norwegian.

So the mix is out, but F-16 work could theoretically (very low chance) be part of F-35 industrial partnership package. But it would look very weird, which is probably not advisable. F-35 package is the most mysterious one since it can't peddle partner level work. New R&D projects should be more relevant to national defense than investing into F-16 related work that you don't even use yourself.

Here's a reminder of what the IP projects can cover:
The industrial participation in the HX fighter program is open to Finnish companies and research organizations. The participation projects must involve technologies that are critical to national safety or related to strategic industrial know-how.

The know-how of the participants must be related to, for example, one of the following areas:

Software
Cyber skills
Artificial intelligence
Autonomous systems
Structures, materials, logistics
Directed energy
Research
Critical dual-use items
Sensors
C4: Command, Control, Communications, Computers
Systems for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition
Management of multi-technology systems
Energetic materials

The HX fighter bidders (OEM, Original Equipment Manufacturer) include Boeing, BAES, Dassault, Lockheed Martin and Saab. Finnish participants can propose their projects to all these companies, their partners or only to the parties of the Finnish participant's choosing.
https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/for-f ... r-program/

It's one of my pet peeves that some people are looking at assembly line offers like they are some sort of gifts. To me they look even counter-productive, because there are no national ambitions for developing fighters. Or naive belief that any extra sales would be allocated to that line. Even in the F-35's case Italy has been disappointed and Japan was even going to turn their FACO into a maintenance hub early before they even built their own order. If an assembly line is needed to acquire the maintenance acumen, then yes by all means.
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Unread post27 Jul 2020, 18:12

I’ve been reading with interest the discussions around the Finish fighter procurement. There are some aspects of the F35 that I don’t understand.

A key feature of the J35 is the low RCS. It gives it a big advantage with everything else being equal. Everything else is not equal, however. Let me explain my trouble:

The stealth characteristics of an aircraft like the F35 is not black and white, i.e. you can’t see it on radar or you can. The RCS varies with reflection angle and frequency, in fact, it’s varying vigorously with the tiniest movement of the target, through fading and glint (in and out of phase combinations of reflection surfaces).

A handful of open publications have presented simulations results of the main characteristics. One example is below, taken from another thread on F16.net:

Image

The simulations are with a non-RAM equipped airframe. Adding RAM lowers the RCS with about 10dB according to a Greek Air Force simulation/publication. This is what I’ve done in the figure by adding the RCS in m2 to the right graph axis.

The other comment around this specific simulation is its values for the rear hemisphere is lower than the other simulations, as no rear of an F35 engine is simulated (it has the same problems as the front of an engine but no S-ducts or RAM to conceal the items like burner flame holders and last turbine blades). RCS values are, therefore, with a high probability higher than shown here, which is a hard surface simulation of a flat surface engine outlet.

The values are in line with the widely quoted RCS for the F35 of 0.01m2 RCS in the front 120° sector, followed by values that are 10 to 20 dB (10 to 100 times) higher as you move back. Behind a +-60°degree sector, we have an RCS varying between 0.1 to 1m2 (the peaks and throughs shall be averaged as a radar detection process is statistical and it uses pulse-to-pulse integration, smoothing the glint, fade and angle variations of RCS).

The low RSC of the F35 in the threat bands H/I/J/K is a real asset. The problem starts when we look at the F35 EW system. An EW system shall protect the aircraft from the threats, particularly in the areas where it has weaknesses. The F35 EW system does the inverse.

To reason around this, we must understand the F35 EW system, described in many places on the forum. The perhaps best description is by LM themselves in this conference paper. It’s surprisingly detailed:

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/ ... cation.pdf

To this we shall add the TR3 (Block 4) upgrades to get to the Finnish delivery status.

Image

We can conclude, using general EW knowledge:

• The RWR/ESM part has coverage 2-6GHz (Band 3), 6-18GHz (Band 4) as a base and adds 05-2Ghz (Band 2) and 18-40Ghz (Band 5) for Block 4. LM etc. only say Band 3, 4, and so on but you don't have to be Einstein to put in the GHz values.

• The aircraft has 2 dispensers for flares behind lids that can have chaff cartridges mixed in (cartridge in qual).

• Behind a lid just behind is an ALE-70 towed RF decoy dispenser with 4 rounds.

• The EW racks 2A/2B contain the Digital receivers for RWR/ESM and Recievers, DRFMs and Techniques generators for the Jamming function, that uses the MFA (Multi Functional Array) as input-output aperture.

• The jamming functions power amplifiers/front-end-receivers and antennas are re-using the TRMs+Antennas (Transmit Receive Modules) of the MFA.

The radar is also using the MFA with its radar adapted (narrowband, matched filters) Exiter (RFSE1A) and Receiver (RFSE1B). Thus, the MFA can switch RF low level transmit and receive paths between the radar boxes and the EW boxes of racks 2A/2B.

Image

The shared use of the MFA gives advantages:

• The ERP (Emitted radiated power= transmitter power in W * Antenna gain) is enormous. You can count on 1W average power per TRM * 1642 TRMs * 10,000 (40dB gain when using the full aperture of the MFA). So we have best case an ERP of 16,420kW which even beats the Growler mid-band NGJ ERP (it doesn’t have an aperture the size of the MFA, thus not 40dB gain nor 1642TRMs IMO. It's down to the physical dimensions of the two AESA antennas).

• The available ERP is so high you can use the Array divided, either as a multidirectional jammer without resorting to time-slices or as a shared Jammer and Radar. Due to in-band interference, the latter is with limitations. But time-division of the MFA between EW and Radar is possible for all cases.

• The large aperture gain also helps with the ESM function. Instead of the nominal single-digit dB gain of the 360-degree azimuth EW antennas, you can switch the receiver to a 40dB antenna in the forward sector. The narrow lobe enables long-range monopulse passive targeting with accuracies of 1° level without resorting to interferometry.

But it also has disadvantages:

• The frequency coverage is limited. The limiting element is at the front end of the TRM with the antenna elements used. These are typical radar AESA slot antenna elements instead of the broad-band Vivalvi elements used in full band jammers. The result is coverage in the I/J band with perhaps part of the H band. This is not a grave limitation as virtually all tracking radars must use these bands to get the required accuracy.

• There is a coverage limitation to a cone of 120° normal to the MFA aperture in the forward sector. The MFA, being a fixed AESA can't slew more as this typically endangers the TRMs due to antenna mismatch reflections.

The coverage limitation is troubling. Your jammer is there to mask your RCS in the direction of the threat. In this case, the jammer has high ERP in the sector where I least need it and none in the sectors where I do, ref below.

Image

For a typical strike package mission, this makes me vulnerable to SAM sites that are from my 10 o`clock and 2 o’clock rearwards. Trouble is, SAM locations will be all over the place and I have to turn and egress at some point.

Image

If the package shall strike at X it will be exposed to e.g. SA21 sites behind the 10 and 2 o’clock line both on the way in and out. Some of the tracking radars will be close and can lock on to the typical 0.1m2 target, especially as there is no stand-in or -off jamming bothering them.

The F35 has four towed decoys to tow behind the jet, but these work as beacons and reveal the jets to any tracking radars. For a BVR A-A case, they work well as you can adapt the geometry and the missile is very limited in its miss distance lethality.

Image

For a front or rear S400 case there is a major geometrical problem as the proximity fuse of the missile will not trigger on the decoy and the miss distance to the F35 can be close enough to make it lethal (this problem is why towed decoys are seeding to Britecloud type free fly decoys in several newer systems).

The dispenser will get chaff cartridges eventually but these are ineffective against S400 type threats if not used together with a jammer (hot chaff) and the jammer can’t illuminate the chaff in this case.

In summary, the F35 has a strange EW system, extremely strong where it’s not needed and virtually absent where it’s needed.
Last edited by bear21 on 28 Jul 2020, 10:13, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post27 Jul 2020, 19:14

bear21 wrote:The other comment around this specific simulation is its values for the rear hemisphere is lower than the other simulations, as no rear of an F35 engine is simulated (it has the same problems as the front of an engine but no S-ducts or RAM to conceal the items like burner flame holders and last turbine blades). RCS values are, therefore, with a high probability higher than shown here, which is a hard surface simulation of a flat surface engine outlet.


Bad assumption about the F135 engine RCS, both inlet and exhaust. Sorry, can’t be any more specific than that.
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ricnunes

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Unread post27 Jul 2020, 20:00

f119doctor wrote:
bear21 wrote:The other comment around this specific simulation is its values for the rear hemisphere is lower than the other simulations, as no rear of an F35 engine is simulated (it has the same problems as the front of an engine but no S-ducts or RAM to conceal the items like burner flame holders and last turbine blades). RCS values are, therefore, with a high probability higher than shown here, which is a hard surface simulation of a flat surface engine outlet.


Bad assumption about the F135 engine RCS, both inlet and exhaust. Sorry, can’t be any more specific than that.


Yup, bad assumption up there and bad assumption down below:

f119doctor wrote:The values are in line with the widely quoted RCS for the F35 of 0.01m2 RCS in the front 120° sector


(The F-35 RCS is 'widely reported' to be lower than 0.001 square meters, much lower than 0.01 square meter above)

More awful assumptions below:
f119doctor wrote:In summary, the F35 has a strange EW system, extremely strong where it’s not needed and virtually absent where it’s needed.


The 'author above' forgets that for instance that the APG-81 radar acts like an EW antenna and that due to its lower RCS the F-35 can get closer much to the radar source and (attack) jam it far more effectively than for instance a Gripen with that EW pod in development will ever be able to do.

The 'author above' also completely forgets that even if a enemy radar system manages to somehow detect a F-35 at a useful range (doesn't matter at which angle the aircraft is facing the enemy radar, etc...) that the same enemy radar system will manage to detect any 4.5th/non-stealth fighter aircraft at much, much, much and much higher (a huge magnitude higher) distance/range than it will ever be able to detect the F-35.

Ultimately, the 'author above' forgets that only recently the F-35 entered in service and will receive lots and lots of upgrades during its lifetime including to its EW system.
Posters like the above seem for some odd reason to believe that only 4.5th gen fighter aircraft are 'illegible' to receive massive upgrades but for some reason the F-35 can not :roll:

Resuming, another typical post of some occasional "new people" coming here trying to prove the ridiculous point that aircraft like the Gripen (or any other 4.5th gen) may have a minimal change against a F-35 or better than the F-35 in performing the intended roles for fighter aircraft.
The post above is IMO ever more 'ridiculous' since the author is trying very hard to prove that other aircraft have a better chance against advanced Air Defence System like the S-400 :roll: :doh:

And now, here we go again... :roll:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post27 Jul 2020, 20:31

ric, you need to fix your quotes.

The "poster above" never discussed any aircraft other than the F-35 and was only showing concern about how the APPARENT coverage of the EW system is where the VLO properties are APPARENTLY the best already. What they are not taking into account is that part of their theoretical strike mission may very well be to overfly that central SA-21 and take it out, using VLO and EW to prevent counter attack. They also seem to be unaware of the "threat blossom" display.
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